Unleash the Hounds! (Link Roundup)

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  October 13, 2011 — 44 Comments

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

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Jason Pitzl-Waters

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  • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

    You know, I am still not entirely sold on this Occupy Wall Street thing. It seems a great many people involved in it consider it nothing but a lark, those that are hard core about it seem to be a bunch of rather self centered individuals who despise people for having managed to be successful, and there seems to be a mix of people in the middle who aren’t happy about their current situation, haven’t got anything better to do with their time, and are willing to jump in with any populist movement that promises to make it better.

    I’ve also had a great deal of trouble sorting out the goals of this Occupy movement. Supposedly they seek a “Living Wage,” which I suppose is all well and good, though I can only imagine that the price of goods would likely sky rocket, just like they rise every time the min wage goes up.

    I’ve heard they want the 1% to pay their fair share in taxes (I’ve heard that the top 1% pay about 38% of the total income taxes in the US according to the Taxfoundation.org, so I’m not entirely sure where that supposed fair share is as the bottom 50% pay only 2.7% of the income taxes) Those I have asked here and elsewhere won’t give me a percentage number. I would think that, fair being the fair I was taught in school that 1 = 1, so 1% should pay 1%? At least that’s the way I understand fairness from the way toys needed to be shared and cookies dolled out.

    Top 1% pay 38% of Income Tax Total
    Top 5% pay 58.7% of Income Tax Total (this includes the top 1%, so the 2-5% pay 20.7%)
    The Bottom 50% pay 2.7% of Income Tax Total.

    I’ve also seen some calls for the redistribution of wealth. If true, I am troubled by the idea of it being morally laudable to take the possessions of a man simply because he posses more than others. Is the point to punish the successful and the lucky? I know that I and a great many others would not have much of a reason to work hard and become successful if it was only so that the rewards of that work were taken away and given to someone who did not work as hard or as lucky. I am all for helping the disadvantaged, but there are parasites in this world, an despite what the OWS say, many more are feeding from the areas where free goods are given, not where vast wealth is traded in the sky scrapers and electrical signals over our heads.

    The behavior of many of these OWS people strikes me as something I have trouble supporting. I am all for gathering and protesting, but these people have been harassing others, defecating on cop cars, destroying property, invading private property, and so forth. At this point, if they are not already, I see them quickly turning into destructive mobs. I would say at this point they have already amassed a significant amount of power since in New York I believe was Giuliani went from saying that they were a nuisance that were destroying jobs to saying they are welcome, with the only thing changing was their numbers and a darkening of their attitude.

    I continue to watch, but I am not sure I like what I see…

    • Ursyl

      You are comparing the wrong numbers, that or ignoring that the “top 1%” population-wise make the vast majority of the income (from all sources) as compared to the rest of the population.

      What is fair? How about everyone paying the same percentage of their income from all sources once they’ve reached a set non-poverty level of income. Alternatively, everyone pays the same percentage on all income over $20,000, or whatever level is reasonable.

      • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

        I do not think I have the “wrong numbers” but if you would like to give me the “right numbers” feel free. Also I am not ignoring that the 1% people earn the vast majority of the income compared to the rest of us.

        I was merely noting that under the rules of what is fair, as I understand them being taught, that the numbers I found were rather grossly unfair, and I only wish to understand why it is that so many people insist that the 1% must pay their fair share when they already seem to be paying an unfair share.

        Now, I like flat tax rates for everyone. I could get behind that.

        • Anonymous

          NA, it is because they aren’t paying their fair share.

          Last year, my tax rate was approx. 25% (that’s on my gross income, after itemized deductions from children, mortgage, student loans, etc). Warren Buffett’s was 17%.

          http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/aug/18/warren-buffett/warren-buffett-says-super-rich-pay-lower-taxes-oth/

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            Okay, fine, but what was Warren Buffett’s starting tax rate %?

            Look, I haven’t got a problem with people paying their fair share. The problem is that too many people insist that a “fair share” isn’t, in fact, a “fair” system. That’s why I’m one of those people who supports a flat tax rate with no tax breaks. Everyone pays X%, no if ands or buts, and then were’ fair. Insisting that one person pay X%, while another pays Y%, and then complain that the man supposed to pay Y% is only paying Z% because he found a way to get out of paying Y% when Y% was anywhere from nearly half to over half of all income, isn’t the way to go about it.

            At least not to me.

          • Anonymous

            17%. Because most of his money is made from investments, not wages.

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            Ah, I see, so that money counts more along the lines of such things as interest on bank saving rather than produced wealth? Hmm…

        • Anonymous

          You are having a “Math Fail” here. Even under a “Flat Tax,” the top money earners would be responsible for a larger share of the taxes… The statistics you quote (which come from a Conservative organization), are a perfect example of deliberately deceptive propaganda.

          Let’s say that there are 10 people in a room, and all of us pay 10% of our income in taxes. And let’s say that 9 of us make $30,000 a year, and one of us makes $3,000,000 a year. The combined taxes collected from the 9 low income people would be $27,000, while the taxes collected from the millionaire would be $300,000. Therefore, the millionaire is responsible for approximately 92% of all of the taxes collected.

          NOW do you see how you’re being manipulated?

          • Anonymous

            The other part of this, which is part of the reason that we have a progressive tax rate, is that those on the lowest end of the income scale must spend a much larger percentage of their total income on basic survival (food, water, shelter, and yes, healthcare).

            [slight tangent]
            Part of the reason for the massive increases in healthcare costs is that businesses, squeezed by insurance companies, have reduced the amount of coverage and to whom their coverage is given – so the people on the bottom of the wage ladder, who no longer have cheap access to healthcare, must then either put off healthcare or use the emergency room (which means that generally they are sicker than if they had had access in the first place).

            Secondly, the insurance companies also refuse to pay the doctors the full amount they are billed – so the doctors must raises rates to make up that shortfall (because they deserve to get paid just like everyone else), and so the insurance companies gleefully raise rates on everyone else. It’s a vicious cycle.
            [/slight tangent]

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            I am not having a “math fail.” My issue is not the fact that the rich would pay more taxes. I am well aware that under a flat tax the wealthy would shell out more than the poor. I don’t have a problem with that.

            What I do have a problem with is people insisting that it is fair making the “wealthy” much higher percentages of their income than other people, when my understanding of fair is quite the opposite as it was taught to me.

            Everyone paying say 9% tax sounds fair, even if one person’s 9% is higher than another person’s 9% in total dollar amount. Insisting that one person pay 5%, while making another pay 50%, simply because the second guy makes significantly more than the first guy, doesn’t sound fair.

          • Anonymous

            You are INDEED complaining that the wealthy pay more of the overall taxes. In fact, it was the primary point of most of your previous posts. It’s in your post…like right here:

            “Top 1% pay 38% of Income Tax Total
            Top 5% pay 58.7% of Income Tax Total (this includes the top 1%, so the 2-5% pay 20.7%)
            The Bottom 50% pay 2.7% of Income Tax Total.”

            That will happen in ANY system of taxation which is based on percentages. Basic…Math… Conservative propagandists KNOW this…but are still repeating deliberately deceptive statistics, like the ones you dutifully cut and pasted above, because they know that you won’t actually THINK about them before repeating them.

            And furthermore, since it was pointed out by guys like Buffett, that the extremely wealthy do NOT pay a higher percentage than the middle-class…and indeed pay LESS…your entire second point is moot, and nothing but a strawman.

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            I am not, nor have I been, complaining that the wealthy pay more in taxes. That is a fact of life. I have been stating that I have an issue with people claiming to want a fair tax system insisting on an unfair tax system. by dent of gain, even at a flat tax the wealthy would pay more. My complaint is people insisting that what isn’t fair is fair.

            As for my use of that data, conservative in origin or not, it was to point out that if the “wealthy” 1-5% are already paying out that amount, and it is not already a fair amount, I was wondering just what counted as fair.

            And just which if my “second points” is a “strawman”? The concern over the moral laudability of the redistribution of wealth? The sometimes unlawful behavior of the protestors? My support of a fair, flat tax system? Hmmm?

            You want to complain about strawmen, how about the fact that you’re complaining that my info comes from a conservative think tank and therefore is invalid? I would suspect you get your info from “liberal” think tanks, in which case since both sources of information would be considered “biased’ I wonder how you could present information any more valid than mine except from a political party’s perspective?

    • http://sarenth.wordpress.com/ Sarenth

      “You know, I am still not entirely sold on this Occupy Wall Street thing. It seems a great many people involved in it consider it nothing but a lark,”

      Why do you have this impression? What images/links/resources have you seen the Occupy Wall Street movements through? Have you considered that you may be misinterpreting or misunderstanding these people?

      “those that are hard core about it seem to be a bunch of rather self centered individuals who despise people for having managed to be successful,”

      This seems to be incredibly judgmental, and again, I ask my questions previous to this quote.

      “and there seems to be a mix of people in the middle who aren’t happy about their current situation, haven’t got anything better to do with their time, and are willing to jump in with any populist movement that promises to make it better.”

      The movement actually promises nothing. Having been to a General Assembly, and going to one tonight, the idea of these Occupations is not to hand out answers but arrive at them by direct personal interaction. Again, your points here seem incredibly judgmental and miss the mark of those whom I know and have spoken with who are involved in my local Occupation movements, and do not parse with what I have seen of the Occupy Wall Street crowd either.

      “I’ve also had a great deal of trouble sorting out the goals of this Occupy movement.”

      If you need to know what the goals are, you need to go to your General Assembly(ies). The things being addressed may differ state-to-state, city-to-city, while all focusing on the main ideas behind why Occupy Wall Street formed and is spreading:
      http://occupywallst.org/forum/first-official-release-from-occupy-wall-street/

      “Supposedly they seek a “Living Wage,” which I suppose is all well and good, though I can only imagine that the price of goods would likely sky rocket, just like they rise every time the min wage goes up.”

      Where is the logic for this assertion? Does not more ability to buy goods drive down price? Seeking a living wage and raising the minimum wage are two very different things, so long as the minimum wage is a livable one.

      “I’ve heard they want the 1% to pay their fair share in taxes (I’ve heard that the top 1% pay about 38% of the total income taxes in the US according to the Taxfoundation.org”

      Taxfoundation.org is a conservative think-tank and uses data that has been noted to be skewed.

      I find this hard to believe, considering the Congressional Budget Office’s 2010 article on trends in Federal Tax Revenues and Rates:
      “Most of the revenues—about 82 percent in 2010—come from the
      individual income tax and the payroll taxes used to finance Social Security, Medicare, and the federal unemployment insurance program. Other sources of revenues include corporate income taxes, excise taxes, estate and gift taxes—all together about
      13 percent of revenues in 2010—”
      Found here: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/119xx/doc11976/2010-12-02_IncomeTax_chartbook.pdf

      “Those I have asked here and elsewhere won’t give me a percentage number. I would think that, fair being the fair I was taught in school that 1 = 1, so 1% should pay 1%? At least that’s the way I understand fairness from the way toys needed to be shared and cookies dolled out.”

      You’re saying that the top 1%, who can make about 1 million dollars in straight-up pay from their company, should only be taxed
      $10,000? Really?

      “Top 1% pay 38% of Income Tax Total
      Top 5% pay 58.7% of Income Tax Total (this includes the top 1%, so the 2-5% pay 20.7%)
      The Bottom 50% pay 2.7% of Income Tax Total.”

      According to the CBO: “the highest quintile, with average income of
      $264,700, paid 25 percent.” Same resource as before.

      “I’ve also seen some calls for the redistribution of wealth. If true, I am troubled by the idea of it being morally laudable to take the possessions of a man simply because he posses more than others.”

      It is not just because he possesses more than others. Oftentimes, that person has more because he can build it on others’ backs due to egregious tax breaks, corporate welfare, etc. I am very tired of looking around at Michigan, seeing where the corporate welfare got us. They took our tax breaks, then, when other countries and states provided them better ones, or even better for them, income breaks, they ran off and left our cities to rot.

      “Is the point to punish the successful and the lucky?”

      No, it is to push the rich, wealthy, and immensely powerful moneyed elite to pay their fair share. The fair share they often don’t end up paying due to Gods’ knows how many loopholes they can find.

      “I know that I and a great many others would not have much of a reason to work hard and become successful if it was only so that the rewards of that work were taken away and given to someone who did not work as hard or as lucky.”

      Yeah, except you’re not squatting on piles of cash, make easily 125 times what your lowest-paid employee (which forms the backbone of your company) makes. You’re not screwing these lowest income out of work (i.e. Walmart and similar entities) out of their just pay (i.e. the class-action lawsuits Walmart paid for overtime compensation grievances), you’re just seeking to be paid your fair share for your fair share. I ask the same of the rich.

      “I am all for helping the disadvantaged, but there are parasites in this world, an despite what the OWS say, many more are feeding from the areas where free goods are given, not where vast wealth is traded in the sky scrapers and electrical signals over our heads.”

      Really? So corporate welfare was just a passing craze?

      Helping the disadvantaged, in Michigan alone, for just food assistance, put $2 billion into our economy. Aid programs, WPAs, all have immediate financial benefits and gains for all involved. Our roads are maintained, or our institutions are maintained, and the people involved in them can make a living wage, earn skills for better employment, and give businesses large and small a boost.

      Your vision of the disadvantaged is an old, bigoted perspective that belies what actually is going on when most families have hit rock bottom. I’ve volunteered at a last-stop place for families losing their homes or facing eviction. None of them are parasites, but all of them are desperate and just want to live a decent life. Many have fallen into illness or on hard times and just want to have a roof over their head, not a new corporate office or factory, paid for, paved, and constructed using taxpayer money.

      “The behavior of many of these OWS people strikes me as something I have trouble supporting. I am all for gathering and protesting, but these people have been harassing others, defecating on cop cars, destroying property, invading private property, and so forth.”

      I have not seen any evidence of this. Provide some links and perhaps I may concede this point. I’ve not seen any reports that they destroyed private property. Also, even if they stand accused of it, it is likely that agent provocateur may have done such things to incite police reaction. This has already happened in the case of The American Spectator’s Patrick Howley. See here:
      http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2011/10/09/the_battle_of_the_air_and_space_museum.html

      “At this point, if they are not already, I see them quickly turning into destructive mobs.”

      Then I call your vision dimmed by pessimism and right-wing talking points, as evidence by your previous ones.

      “I would say at this point they have already amassed a significant amount of power since in New York I believe was Giuliani went from saying that they were a nuisance that were destroying jobs to saying they are welcome, with the only thing changing was their numbers and a darkening of their attitude.”

      I’m not sure why Giuliani even matters here.

      “I continue to watch, but I am not sure I like what I see…”

      I’m not even sure of what you’re seeing, to be honest. I don’t mean that as an insult; I am honestly trying to see what you see. I simply cannot.

      • Anonymous

        No matter how many times you show some folks photos from the various Occupy gatherings that are full of retirees, military veterans of both past and recent wars, average unemployed tradespeople and the like, all they’re going to see is a bunch of lazy, teenage trustifarians chanting “COMMUNISM NOW, COMMUNISM FOREVER! WE HATE AMERICA AND WHITE PEOPLE! “.

        No matter how you break down the numbers for these same folks or point out how many billions in corporate welfare the wealthy rake in, they will always see this as “welfare parasites” trying to “punish the successful” and not regular people demanding the wealthy and powerful stop threatening to burn down our economy if they don’t get what they want.

        And no matter how you stress the fact that the Occupy groups have been entirely peaceful (except for that one right-wing jackass who tried to incite people to storm the Air and Space Museum and failed), these folks are still going to be itching for the cops to start cracking hippie skulls. And to that end, they will repeat all kinds of bullshit lies about the people involved in the Occupy movement in the hopes that when it does happen, people will see it as those dirty hippies getting what they deserve at the hands of the brave warriors of law and order and not a bunch of unarmed, non-violent people getting the crap kicked out of them by brutish thugs.

        Me, I don’t even bother to try with people who are obviously overlooking the answers to their supposed questions. Thankfully it’s pretty easy to spot the folks who’ve all ready reached a conclusion and can only maintain it by ignoring any and all information that contradicts it.

        • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

          I’m sorry, did you not hear about the 100 or so in the Pittsburgh area that got arrested for invading private property? Or the other hundreds across the country that have been arrested for illegal activity? It’s been on all the News…

      • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

        Hmm, probably the same pics and images that most people have been seeing, I guess. But as I said, these are the impressions I’ve been getting from much of the media.

        Let’s see if I can help address a few of these points. I am happy you spent the time to respond so thoroughly :D

        “Supposedly they seek a “Living Wage,” which I suppose is all well and good, though I can only imagine that the price of goods would likely sky rocket, just like they rise every time the min wage goes up.”

        “Where is the logic for this assertion? Does not more ability to buy goods drive down price? Seeking a living wage and raising the minimum wage are two very different things, so long as the minimum wage is a livable one.”

        Okay, lets see if I can explain this logic, cause its something I’ve noticed and had many, many people complain and talk about.

        Let’s say that everyone has to have a living wage. There is nothing wrong with this, at least on the surface. But if we look at the mechanics of it, we suddenly see why prices would skyrocket.

        Let’s say that the cost of living is X. I use X because many people have different definitions about what is needed for “living.”

        Now, most people make well above X already, so we don’t have to worry about them at the moment. For those people who don’t make X, however, there is the push that they should earn X.

        So, lets say we make the min wage X. Now everyone has what they need to “live.” But we now have several things occurring:

        A) Companies now have to hand out more money to employees, which drop their bottom line. Now, many consider this far from a bad thing, but here is the result. Most of the larger companies aren’t privately owned, they are publicly traded stock whose value is set by its making of a bottom line. So, to keep the stock from falling and loosing investors, they have to keep that bottom line up. This mainly would happen in two ways; Dropping “excess” employees and raising prices. (Yes, they could lower the wages of the higher earning people, but that also presents a problem which I will try to address in a moment).

        So, lets say they fire people they don’t need, and make the rest work harder. Those that lose their jobs now no longer make X, and in fact now make much less than they would before. But lets say that firing people is not an option because it would cause a public outrage, or alternatively, they have fired all the people they can but cannot maintain the margins of profit needed to stay in business (which in some businesses like grocery stores is very, very thin already).

        This means the next option is to raise prices. So they do. And some people complain, and some don’t shop there, and prices still go up. Well suddenly, the price of goods has risen from what they were at the time of X. Suddenly, X no long equals a living wage.

        But, some would say the solution to this is to ban companies from firing people and locking prices. There have been many debates about how this would stagnate markets, but that’s not something I’m going to drive at right now. What I think is likely to happen if companies were made to not fire and not raise prices is that those that can leave would. If a company must pay out X times number of employees who must be paid X, and it cannot do that by raising the cost of goods (Y), then the bottom line would fall, investors would leave, those of talent would leave (why should I work for X when I can get paid Z) and suddenly we’d be in a situation where in order to keep these businesses alive because they are “too big to fail” that we see essentially the same thing happen with the banks, i.e. large bail outs.

        This, of course is only what happens in a self enclosed system. It gets more complicated when we factor in the fact that we are part of a global economy now. Let’s say we have a business that willingly doesn’t fire anyone and has no plans to raise prices, but rather to eat the loss because it’s the “right thing to do.”

        But other nations see that suddenly, Americans have more money to spend. So let’s say that they oil producing nations of the world say “The Americans have more money, they can pay more for our oil.” So they raise prices. Suddenly, the farmer must pay more to grow his crops, people must pay more to commute, and things made out of plastics suddenly cost more. Suddenly, the cost of living has yet again risen and even the “responsible” business who wasn’t going to fire anyone or raise prices, must do either of those if not both, in order to stay in business or else everyone loses their jobs.

        Despite its rather counter intuitive nature, the ability to spend more doesn’t increase they buying power of the individual. We have more money now than in say the early 1900’s, but back then you could get a Hershey bar for $0.05, now you pay about $1.25 if not more.

        “Really? So corporate welfare was just a passing craze?”

        I’m actually against corporate welfare and bailouts. :P

        “No, it is to push the rich, wealthy, and immensely powerful moneyed elite to pay their fair share. The fair share they often don’t end up paying due to Gods’ knows how many loopholes they can find.”

        Yeah, still not hearing what this “fair share” is. And have you never used a loophole in the tax code to keep more money? Made donations? Things of that nature? Everyone tries to cheat the tax man. :)

        If possible, I will try and address more points later. :)

        • Crystal Kendrick

          “Yeah, still not hearing what this “fair share” is. And have you never used a loophole in the tax code to keep more money? Made donations? Things of that nature? Everyone tries to cheat the tax man. :)” No, actually I haven’t and I know quite a few who don’t. I’ve always been of the notion that it’s not a donation if you get a kickback from it, but that’s beside the point.

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            Well, that is like, your opinion, man.

            But not everyone has to play by your rules, nor should they be judged by legally getting tax credits for doing good deeds. You may not consider it a donation, but I suspect those that are helped don’t mind if they guy helping them gets something for his trouble, and if they do, well… money from an “evil man” is the same as money from a “good man” when it helps someone in charity.

      • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

        This caught my eye: “Helping the disadvantaged, in Michigan alone, for just food assistance, put $2 billion into our economy”. WHAAAAaaT? Businesses are leaving Michigan in droves, businesses are failing at the highest level in the entire country, every small town is full of empty stores, we are at 26% unemployment in our county, 12% in the whole state, we have the worst level of poverty in the entire nation, Detroit is down to 7,000 people, and there are more foreclosures here than anywhere but FL and CA… yet you think “helping the disadvantaged” by raising taxes is HELPING Michigan? Our small businesses were paying between 32 and 64% of income to taxes. That was NOT helping our economy. What will help is our Republican governor lowering the single business tax to 6% and our Republican state reps putting a four year limit on Welfare for able-bodied adults.

        • Baruch Dreamstalker

          “Detroit is down to 7,000 people”

          Eh?

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Typo. Seventy thousand, in the city limits.

          • http://www.facebook.com/kargach Rob Henderson

            The last census put it at over 700,000. Believe me, it was much reported around here at the time. >8)

          • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

            Rob Henderson is right, my local paper, the Benton Harbor St. Joseph Herald Palladium is wrong… typo of a typo? The point is, Detroit had a million and a half residents, and people are leaving in droves.

      • Cara

        The top 1% make $380,000 per year.
        The top 0.1% make 1.6 million per year.

    • Pagan Puff Pieces

      Without arguing the protests themselves and the justifications…

      When unemployment is up and the future in general looks dark, can you really fault people for not having anything “better” to do than be publicly angry, whether or not they’re the most educated, have thought everything out, or just happened to be passing by at the moment?

      And when normally astoundingly apathetic people are willing to “hop into any populist movement that promises better,” that’s a sign that something needs doing, and soon, before someone finds a nefarious purpose to funnel that rage into.

      I think I’ll also throw in another question, though kind of off-topic to this particular post but it’s about something that comes up a lot:

      Isn’t the way you get by in a Capitalist, investing-based society manipulating funds, and numbers and finding legal loopholes to make a profit off things that don’t really have that much to do with you, while you yourself do minimal amount of actual practical work that might reciprocate in any way? So, why are we so enraged when poor people manipulate government funds and welfare as a means of getting by? Isn’t that the spirit of the economy and society to begin with?

      • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

        Can I fault them for not having anything better to do? Nope. They are merely working according to human nature and known political activities. However, I can look at history, both modern and recent, and see where this could be headed.

        And I can certainly fault them for forming mobs and what happens after, should such things occur.

        And I’m with you, something needs doing. But blaming the “elite” is generally not the best thing to do. Getting inventive, returning to the land, building cooperative and competitive endeavors where people can work both in teams and against “rivals” in a healthy spirit of life, these are things I can support. Gathering together, complaining that “certain people” are “Responsible” for all the problems (regardless of actual guilt or innocence) and screaming that they “must pay” doesn’t sound like anything good. After all, once you start putting the blame on someone rather than pushing forwards, bad things have a history of happening. Some examples.

        The Confederate States in the Civil War fought for two main things: The Rights Self Determination and the economic security they had in slavery which was being threatened by the US Government. Post Civil War, disenfranchised Southerners, looking for someone to blame, turned on African Americans and unionists.

        In the French Revolution, disenfranchised and destitute peasants blamed the Nobility for their ills. We all know how that ended.

        Post WWI, Germany, who had been only involved in the conflict due to treaties with the Austrian Empire found itself unfairly and unjustly saddled with all the blame and all the debt. Given no outlet for recourse and vilified, they followed a man promising salvation and who gave them an enemy: The Jews.

        Some of those were responsible. The destitution and disenfranchisement that occurred in the south were the fault of the Union seeking retribution on the South. Some of the Nobility were responsible for the state of the French people.

        But some were innocent, not all of the French nobility were the cause, the Jews weren’t the cause of what happened to Germany, and the Blacks were pawns of both sides of the Civil War.

        I have no problem with apathetic people standing up and doing something in times of trouble. I do have problems with large groups of people gathering together screaming “X needs to Pay” and “X is to Blame” and so forth. Especially when I thin X have the resources to help us get out of this problem, and the Government is the one that has caused most of these problems to occur in the first place. Now many in the government are joining in the screaming of “Blame X!”

        As for you off topic question, I think the issue is that those who game the government assistance programs are doing at the expense of tax payers, while those that game the investment market are drawing from wealth placed “freely” upon the open market. It’s kinda like the investment players are like winners on a card table, while those on the gov assit are more like those who gather around the tax man taking bribes after he has forcibly taken from your pocket. Yes, money is won and lost by playing “The Game” but it’s all about how willing you are a participant. Don’t like something in the market, you can boycott. But try boycotting the tax man. :P

        And I think that’s why it “violates” the spirit of the economy. The Spirit, so to speak, is that everyone is given a choice to put their money on the table, and what happens happens, the lucky and skilled win, the unlucky or the unskilled do not. Where as the gov assist gamers aren’t playing in the “spirit” because they aren’t putting out there and joining the “risk” of the game, they are waiting until money is forcably taken from those who do “risk” and then insist that they can’t “play the game” and therefore must be given “prizes” of the game regardless. That’s why most people don’t have a problem helping those that really need it, but get so angry at those that game the assistance programs. Because at least the guy “cheating” at the game or just being a “successful” player are at least part of the game and if cheating can be caught and punished, but those that take from the “houses’ cut” when they well could play the game are considered so bad.

        • Pagan Puff Pieces

          Yeah, targets can indeed be tragically wrong and heavy handed, particularly when they happen to be an already disenfranchised and popularly unliked sort of person thrust into the spotlight by the people who actually do have the power to pull those kinds of strings.

          True, people aren’t required by law to put their trust in investors and those who play with money while wearing suits, but it’s kind of a fact of this world that we do and have to, and that the whims of what they do rock our foundations so much, whether or not our personal money was in those particular ventures It’s more and more evident that this side of our economy doesn’t work in the interests of those whose money they play with, and it really mostly works for the benefit of a select few.

          Not only that, but people with the money to throw around have suddenly become afraid of the risk that supposedly defines the market and the reason why you can become wealthy playing the market.

          I think the market has been manipulated to the point that it’s stopped being genuinely free. It’s being more and more monopolized these days. On top of that, I personally feel that the free market is secondary to other elements of life and society in importance. I don’t think the market and its games are necessarily bad, but I feel they should not be held up in such esteem and regarded as untouchable as it is, particularly when the well being of people is at stake. So, in my view, that’s part of why there’s this outpouring of people at Wall Street: Why is Wall Street this important? Is the game just an element of life, or is it more important than the life and well being of a nation of people whom government has the ability to arrest, incarcerate, send to war and execute?

          So, yes, one is an abuse of taxpayer money, and the other is an abuse of investor money, but the amounts of money involved and the vast amounts of people effected are not the same, and the ability to do legal manipulation is not equally available. That’s not saying one is less morally wrong than the other. However, one is much more accepted and tolerated as just a part of how things work in society than the other, and I don’t think it matches the level of the offense and the harm done.

          I think that we shouldn’t wonder why cheating the system at the bottom looks the way it does considering what goes on at the top and what the models of success are. I also think the fact that people willingly put their money in the hands of investors and companies should make white collar manipulation (not plain old failure. I’m talking crazy market-playing weirdness) even more of an outrage for betraying trust. Why don’t we hear more of “Why should I invest when there are Ponzi schemes out there?” than “What good is welfare when people purposely live on it without ever improving their lives?”

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            And I am starting to think that this rage against the 1% is just that, a manipulation of those who hold the stings of power and are intent on making us think the 1% are responsible when in reality it is those pulling the strings who share a larger portion of the blame.

            The fact that you aren’t required by law is the point of order. Yes, it may be hard, but you don’t have to play the stocks and investment games. I don’t. Yes, it may be nearly impossible to avoid the capitalism game (and really, why would you want to), but you don’t have to play the higher gamble games. Yes, the rewards may be greater, but it is still a matter of choice. And yes, they are out for themselves, and sometimes you bet on the winning horse (or give him your money) and sometimes you don’t. It’s a gamble, and it isn’t fair all the time.

            And yes, a lot of people who have the money to throw around aren’t doing it. But if you went up to a table and after a few rounds realized that everyone was loosing, but knew that in the future it would turn around, you’d make the minimum bet to keep playing, until things started turning around. As for the importance of Wall Street…it didn’t use to be, but then companies needed more money to get started, so they had to get investors, and then those investors wanted to trade, buy, and sell their investments. And that’s how we got wall street. And that how a lot of companies get the funding they need quickly in order to compete. But it also means those companies don’t always get to run the company the way it needs to be, because the investors want to see that bottom line go up constantly, even if letting it drop a little might bring greater profits in the future.

            “So, yes, one is an abuse of taxpayer money, and the other is an abuse of investor money, but the amounts of money involved and the vast amounts of people effected are not the same, and the ability to do legal manipulation is not equally available. That’s not saying one is less morally wrong than the other. However, one is much more accepted and tolerated as just a part of how things work in society than the other, and I don’t think it matches the level of the offense and the harm done. ”

            Here you are right, but I’m not sure that you’re right in the direction I think you’re coming from. Both are, in their ways, an abuse of taxpayer or investor money. And yes, the amounts of money involved are vastly different as are the scales of the legal manipulations. So why is one more accepted than the other?

            The Wall Street abuse is more accepted because while an investor may win or lose money, it is A) nominally a matter of choice, even if the choice could be considered an illusion, and B) a person can only lose what they invested in the company, they cannot be forced to pay out past what they put in. (at least as far as I understand it. They can be ruined by putting in too much money and losing it all, but I don’t recall ever hearing about an investor being forced to shell out money when a company went belly up).

            The Government Assistance abuse is less accepted because A) there is no choice, illusion or otherwise. You will pay taxes or be punished, and those taxes will be used to pay out to those in need, and those that abuse the claim of need and B) and person can be made to pay out on the loosing end of that. Lets say that Government Assistance leads to Government Debt (which it certainly does contribute too) well then you are expected to keep paying out beyond the point what you put in. For instance, the giant debt that Pres Obama got for his stimulus package is pretty much all going to various forms of Government Assistance, be it bailouts, healthcare, or the traditional assistance given to the less lucky. Which means that now taxpayers have over double the national debt they did before that they have to cover to cover what is essentially the abuse of Government assistance. They have had no choice in the matter, and they can’t get out of it, and they have to keep paying out, regardless. That is why so many people are angry at the abuse of welfare and the buyouts. And any attempts to curb this form of abuse on either end is met with those on government assistance screaming they need and have a right to the assistance in the care of welfare and the like, or the government stating that these businesses were “Too big to fail”.

            You’re right, the market isn’t free anymore, and the thing does sound like a giant ponzi scheme sometimes. But people still do win even if they aren’t at the top of the scheme at times, and sometimes its not a scheme at all. And it isn’t the stock brokers and the 1% that really made the market unfree, that was years upon years of ever growing governmental regulations on the market, cherry picking who would win and who would lose, setting laws that forced out certain kinds of businesses or making it to expensive for certain businesses to run here in America making them go elsewhere in the world.

          • Pagan Puff Pieces

            But with the monopolizing (of news and media), lobbying, and strange money raising (PACs and Super PACs) going on, along with politicians outwardly expressing fear of chasing away rich people (8 million people in Manhattan alone, but if a few millionaires get chased away by a slight tax increase, it’s a disaster) and the fact that we DO have to be so concerned about how certain people feel and think so that they may bestow those jobs we desperately need on the rest of us…. I think it’s pretty safe to say they ARE pulling the strings, and it’s clear there are more important people than the rest of the nation. I think the government’s been fiddling with things in plenty of corporations’ favors for decades now. Corporations are being treated like people, and extra special and more important people than that. I think this is bigger and more harmful than any welfare or safety measure. Many people think government shouldn’t coddle people who don’t do well. I think government shouldn’t be overly congratulating and being nice to people who have done well. They can take care of themselves just fine, already have, and don’t need extra encouragement.

            Still, why such an outrage that there are a pathetic people who feel hopeless and worthless enough that they’d rather live under the official poverty level (and a LOT of people majorly struggle while still above that legal line) and manipulate welfare, except the outrage that apparently it’s not worth it for a lot of people to live outside of a rather pathetic situation? If we accept that wages you can’t live on are necessary for our system, why are we so shocked, surprised, and outraged that people would manipulate government aid for the sake of living on it? I think seeing it in terms of taxes is shortsighted. How about that our taxpayer-funded government is so in bed with a market and system that thrives on producing people who would rather give up and mooch, on a system that makes it incredibly hard to actually dig oneself out, and a society that claims you can achieve social mobility that never actually comes for so many people who work their asses off to at least stay out of poverty?

            I think the fact that sometimes people win doesn’t say much in favor of the market’s prominence in everyone’s lives. It sounds like a justification of finding your fortune at the casino. Casinos are fine as an element of life and a way to mess around with excess money, but imagine being recommended to gamble your life savings as a respectable and sensible way to plan ahead and manage your money, that not doing this was foolish a foolish choice, and that a big losing streak affects the income and well being of the entire state. The people of the state are suffering, but the primary focus of everything is “What about the casino? We need to make sure the gamblers feel comfortable!” Even if the casino was the state’s primary source money, openly worrying about the casino above the fact that people can’t find jobs and that families can’t put food on the table, and addressing the casino’s worries first while assuring that eventually the human problems will be solved once the casino’s are, is going to come off as… a little insulting.

          • Pagan Puff Pieces

            So, in other words, yes, government should stay out of the market in that it shouldn’t listen to corporations, treat them as people, allow them to contribute to campaigns (campaigns really shouldn’t rely on all that money they supposedly need), allow itself to be influenced by lobbies, and above all, it shouldn’t buy into the idea that investing in a volatile and risky market is a proper thing to do with a regular non-investing type’s money as part of sensible, solid planning for the future.

          • http://heathenfaith.blogspot.com Norse Alchemist

            Hmmm, I will agree that the corporations are pulling some strings. However, I don’t know that the corporations are pulling all the stings. (Although apparently some reports indicate that Obama stocked his government with ex-wallstreeters who gave him lots of money, so you could be right.) But the government pulls just as many strings, in my opinion, if not more. As for the News agencies, they’re all bias, some for and some against the president and the corporations. Considering the massive amounts of positive coverage by much of the MSM, I wonder just who is pulling the stings on that. :/

            Let’s see, I’m pretty sure there’s always been pay below what it takes to live. But living is one of those tricky things. Considering a great many of those below the poverty line still have running water, electricity, a fairly steady supply of food (of not the best food), most often heating and cooling, tv, phones, and the like, our poor still manage to live better than most of the world’s middle and upper classes. Perhaps that’s not considered much of a valid argument, but there it is.

            I think the outrage stems because people who work hard, and struggle, see those gaming the system doing nothing and living better lives than they do, in some cases. And they aren’t living better than those who are upset, they are at least living easier. Yes, a person might earn more and have more stuff, but if they work a sixty hour week to do it, of course they’re going to be upset when someone who doesn’t work a single hour a week, gets goods that (while maybe not of the same quality at time) serve the same function, essentially for free.

            And you’re entitled to think that the fact that sometimes people win isn’t an argument in favor of capitalism, but lets look at some other economic styles. In communism, pretty much nobody wins, except the X% at the top. Only instead of the lower Y% having the quality of life they do say under capitalism, they tend to look like the back end of a 3rd world country. Look at pictures of people under the USSR, or over in China back when it was firmly under communist control with no capitalistic elements. The Chinese worker is forced to work for pay far, far below our minimum wage. For American min wage, with a roommate, I can afford a nice 2+bedroom appartment, cable tv, food for every meal i wish to eat, plus snacks, fun activities such as games, computers, etc. Yes, I may have to save up for these things at times, but I can still get them even without a “living wage” and I’m far from being a winner in the capitalist system. Under a communist system, I would be expected to work longer hours during the week (likely 60+) I would have terrible healthcare, if any, I would likely not have a car, or a living place as nice as I have, I certainly wouldn’t be able to get things like a computer equal to mine, or an ipod, or iphone or any other apple or lesser products if I wished.

            Personally, I agree, the government shouldn’t listen to lobbies or corporations. Of course, by by dent of not listening to corporate lobbies, it also shouldn’t listen to union lobbies, civil rights lobbies, or any lobbies, for that matter. Personally, I’m not sure why we let our government listen to anyone except their voters at say town hall meetings. Too often the politicians vote how they want and not how the people want. Lobbies were created to try and get the government to listen to the people in the form of groups, but they really have gone to far seeking their own power and ignoring the vary people they were meant to defend.

  • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

    So people who aren’t already working with the military, prisons and hospitals are taking on this project? Along with the idea of a “council of Witches” effectively representing Pagans and polytheists, this makes me a bit skeptical.

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      Some of these folks have years of interaction w/ various communities. But yes, I agree, there might need to be some help from those who actually do ministries w/ in the institutions.

      I also think that the 13 virtues, or whatever, might be separate from the military aspect, something to tell the press or non-Pagans or interfaith groups when they ask “What do you believe”. That may be something to add to a chaplain’s book.

      • http://www.patheos.com Star Foster

        Military chaplains haven’t used those handbooks since ’93. This whole project is an ill-conceived waste of time.

        • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

          Respectfully disagree, for the reasons stated on the other page. I keep having young military personnel calling me to act as an intermediary between themselves and their helpful, yet bewildered chaplains… it’d sure be nice to say “Here’s the book”. Also print media carries more weight than the voice of one cranky old lady… if it’s in writing, the military personnel, police lieutenants and hospital chaplains tend to take it more seriously.

  • Lioness

    Thank for the link to Talk to Action. I wish they had an RSS feed.

  • Baruch Dreamstalker

    Once again the NAR thinks it can pray events into reality. Or so it lets on. I can imagine that this is (a) pure hustle by cynically pious leaders; (b) genuine expectation that their prayers will have an effect apart from generating comment; or (c) disengagement with reality best addressed by the more expensive prescription drugs on the market. Hmm, none of them are good news…

    • http://www.magickal-media.com Alice C. “A.C.” Fisher Aldag

      “”We need to pray that all false accusations and the voice of the accuser of the brethren be silenced in the name of Jesus!” – Spokesperson for Global Havest/Global Spheres, Inc. ministries”

      Prayer Wars, my Aunt Fanny. If the NAR magickally causes the Talk to Action website to fail or their server to go offline permanently, THEN I might be convinced that the NAR has any actual power to either remove Columbia as an American symbol, pray someone into office, outlaw Paganism, or anything else.

      Waiting… waiting….

      • kenneth

        Their prayer war/half assed spell work doesn’t concern me either. What concerns me is the prospect of some of their water boy candidates getting into office. Then they won’t need to resort to corny prayer wars. They’ll have the power of the federal government at their disposal, like assigning the FBI or IRS or Homeland Security to pay “extra special attention” to Talk to Action or whoever they don’t like.

        • Charles Cosimano

          If I ran that website nothing would make me happier than for the FBI to make the mistake of getting interested in it. The free PR when I screamed “Censorship” would cause it to be mirrored all over the world.

  • Kilmrnock

    well, i believe the occupy movement has to do w/ economic disparity, and wall street greed more than anything else. due to Reagan and Bush economic and domestic policy the rich are getting richer at the exspence of the middle and lower class.The behavior of the Banks and investment companies has also helped fan the flames .after the ” too big to fail” mess the banks agreed to loosen credit and start lending , this they did not do. they said it was due to current conditions that they helped create.this helped making things even worse. the fact that no bank or investor execs have been charged or jailed , and the fact that big bonuses still are happening isn’t a good thing either . it makes it look as if we, the 99 %ers, are being squeesed while they are living high on the hog. another point of anger is our govt. is broken . it will not or can’t fix this mess.the republican party is dominated by big money and religous zealots and the democrats have no real power or balls .the concept of bipartisen action to help America and her people is no longer of any impotance.polarised politics seems to be the norn now .Most of this crap makes my brain hurt.simple personal honor and doing whats right has no place in our govt these days .the fillibuster is used in congress more now than any time in our history . altho i don’t agree w/ everthing Obama wants , the rebuplicans have blocked almost everything he has tried to do , and have publicly stated that is thier goal , we the public don’t seem to matter at all.the idea that we lost , he is our president and we gotta work w/ him for the benfit of the people is being ignored for political gain later down the road . protest is one of the only ways we the people have to let wall street and our govt. know we are pissed off.I am a child of the 60’s and personaly am glad to see people getting riled up about anything .political activism has taken a big hit the last 30 yrs or so . i’m encouraged by this protest.altho i wasn’t biggest fan of Clinton , at least we had a balanced budget and wern’t invovled in a costly inneffective war. clinton era policies need to be considered again, a more level headed non political approch. all this needs to change b/f anything will get better.sorry i rambled on a bit , but thats my 2 cents on this Kilm

  • Kilmrnock

    ok and just for the record , i am firmly entrenched in the middle clas we combined make about 50 k are struggling to hang on .we pay an aproxamite 40 percent tax burden all told . the average working family today works harder , and adjusted for current times , makes less money than families in the recent past.our home is worth less than it’s mortgaged for . and we are not uncommman in todays economy